Fraud upon the court is not a tort giving rise to a civil action for damages and trial by jury; it is an equitable remedy that affords relief from a judgment that may be accompanied by imposition of sanctions


Law Lessons from Grinbaum v. Wolf, App. Div., A-4305-09T2, December 9, 2011:

Fraud upon the court is not a tort giving rise to a civil action for damages and trial by jury; it is an equitable remedy that affords relief from a judgment that may be accompanied by imposition of sanctions, such as attorney’s fees, that the judge has inherent authority to award. Triffin v. Automatic Data Processing, Inc., 394 N.J. Super. 237, 251-53 (App. Div. 2007); see also Triffin v. Automatic Data Processing, Inc., 411 N.J. Super. 292, 309-11 (App. Div. 2010).

Fraud upon the court is established by showing “‘clearly and convincingly [] that a party has sentiently set in motion some unconscionable scheme calculated to interfere with the judicial system’s ability impartially to adjudicate a matter by improperly influencing the trier or unfairly hampering the presentation of the opposing party’s claim or defense.'” Triffin v. Automatic Data Processing, Inc., 394 N.J. Super. 237, 251 (App. Div. 2007) (quoting Aoude v. Mobil Oil Corp., 892 F.2d 1115, 1118 (1st Cir. 1989)).

The Supreme Court has indicated “[p]erjurious testimony alone and not accompanied or concealed by other and collateral acts of fraud may be a ground for relief [from judgment] as a fraud upon the court in a proper case.” Shammas v. Shammas, 9 N.J. 321, 328 (1952).





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